Vegetarian or Vegan?

Any day now I'm going to write a post about Tzachi Zamir's article "Veganism"--which defends vegetarianism over veganism.  If you'd like to read it before I tell you what you should think about it (just kidding), here's a link.


Matthew Pianalto said...

Thanks for the link!

Melissa said...

You might be interested in this:
Australian billionaires are investing in a dairy system that would allow the cows to live out their natural lives.

"We have a team working on delivering a milk option where none of the calves or cattle, male or female, are slaughtered at the end of their productive lives. This will be the first farming system of its kind in the western world, and means we are a lot more for our milk. But it’s our pleasure because we’d rather pay with our money than allow the cows to pay with their lives."

While I think some of the stuff that restaurant says is dumb, that's interesting.

Jean Kazez said...

Matthew, In turn, I have to thank Taylor for sending me the article, which I'd never seen before.

Melissa--wow, that's definitely interesting! It's just the sort of thing Zamir thinks we ought to be heading for.

Wayne said...

Hmmm... So I like the position, I'm not sure about the the route.

Minor nitpick: Using the phrase "demi-vegetarian" to represent people who periodically eat unethically raised meat RIGHT after presenting Hare's argument for selectively eating humanely raised meat, which he calls "Demi-vegetarianism" is just begging for confusion. A "flexitarian" diet is much less defensible than a "demi-vegetarian" diet.

So he compares flexitarianism to occasional molestation. Clearly its wrong. But then later he says that a vegetarian who "falls short of ideal selective consumption" is excusable. Isn't that a flexitarian, someone who simply falls short of Demi-vegetarianism?

Towards the end, he brings up the effectiveness of the positions and the campaigns that we fight, veganism is less effective than veg. But Hare brings this up as well, and argues quite convincingly that demi-veg has "better propoganda value" and works towards increasing quality of life for animals more quickly than veg or vegans (since it utilizes market forces whereas the other two do not).

So it seems like Zamir doesn't actually argue that its preferable to be a vegetarian than a vegan... he argues that its preferable to be a demi-veg or what Singer calls a "conscientious omnivore." (I hate that term... such a mouthful.)

Maybe I read him too fast? I'll try reading it again later.

Jean Kazez said...

Well, throughout the article he characterizes a "vegetarian" as someone who eats no meat, but does eat "progressive" milk and eggs. That's the diet he calling better than veganism, on grounds that it's a step along the way to a world with perfectly humane milk and eggs (which would be better than a vegan world, on his view). It's also better than being a conscientious omnivore, because he says breeding animals just to later kill them is inherently problematic.

Wayne said...

mmm yes. I forgot about that part at the end of section 2.

He brings up the Matrix as a pretty good example of farming. The AI robots farm human beings for energy, and we live pleasant lives in The Matrix. Its better than not living, but he says, "it is not hard to imagine someone saying that such a life should not be lived."

Why? because "instituting a practice in which premature death is intended for the born entity is a violation of what having a life means..."

Having a life means that we get a non-institutional premature death? Why? And for animals in particular? I can see how humans can appeal to a visualization of the loss of a future, but for animals, I can't see the same argument. "From an internal perspective its better than no life at all..." This is possibly true for humans, but I don't think one can transfer this reasoning to animals very easily, if the internal perspective is the only thing that really is justifying this point.

Hare argues that its not exploitation precisely because we are bringing them into existence. We're back to Parfit's non-identity problem. Sure I could harm them by bringing them into a certain kind of life (factory farming), but I can also benefit them by that same reasoning. Its better than non-existence AND they don't have a subjective experiential loss by being killed early.

Taylor said...

Wayne, who is harmed or benefitted by being brought into existence? Unless one believes in some previous existence, surely the answer is no one, since there is no one there to harm or benefit.

And would incarnation from a previous state be a harm or a benefit?

"But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy..."

Give me Heaven or give me non-existence!